LIVE: Deez Nuts / Comeback Kid / Hellions / First Blood @ O2 Academy Islington

By William Scott

Wednesday night probably isn’t one of the best nights of the week to go see a band who preaches the party lifestyle. It can be difficult to loosen up with that niggling thought in the back of your mind that the alarm is going slice through the pureness of sleep and you’ll be on the same bus or train heading back to work in the morning.  Tonight, at Islington Academy, it is a big bill affair.

It’s still relatively early by the time First Blood take the stage. The turnout is strong, the crowd is moving and First Blood’s aural assault on this North London crowd doesn’t hold back. They’ve got a lot to say and not a lot of time to say it. There are points in the set that make you think their take of Terror-esque Hardcore is ribcage-tingling brilliance but after you’ve heard that very similar breakdown 8 times in a 5 minute space, it can start to wear thin. Fun enough for half an hour, but need to step up their game to leave anything but a scratch in the future in an oversaturated Hardcore scene. 

Hellions are distinctively unmemorable. There’s nothing wrong with their set, it is musically tight and certainly seemed to get a lot of the crowd off their feet but again they could’ve brought so much more to the table, being one of the more melodic bands on the bill. The band hold so much potential and it will be so interesting to see what they can do in the future but on a wet and windy midweek evening in the capital there isn’t much to scream about. 

The time comes around for the first of the Co-headliners and it’s Comeback Kid. It is an understatement to say that this set is electrifying. From start to finish the Winnipeg born quintet fly through tracks from their 5 LP deep discography including ‘Do Yourself A Favour’, ‘Wasted Arrows’ and ‘Die Knowing’. The band command the stage and are met with an enormous reaction.

This is when the evening gets ever so slightly soured by involvement from the security team at the venue. This is a whole argument on it’s own, but the staff caused a lot of their own problems and were rightly called out by the band themselves. Other than this tiny footnote on what was otherwise a hugely impressive performance by the Canadian punks, it is fair to say that they are cementing their legacy on this European tour and when the band go to write the next record they should be thinking about bigger venues.

If you had a house party there’s only one band you could ever want to headline it, Deez Nuts are good times guaranteed but tonight there’s something ever so slightly disappointing about the set. This is at no fault of the band, the venue half empties after Comeback Kid and what you’re left with is the band being their usual excellent selves on a stage that is swallowing them slightly. There’s a different atmosphere in the crowd than there was at their show at The Borderline a couple of years back, or even at the Fighting Cocks in Kingston in 2016.

That being said JJ Peters has this quality of being able to command a crowd while being approachable and light hearted. Opening with hit anthem ‘Band Of Brothers’ the mic grabs are regular and with smiles all around. Peters wastes no time in getting the crowd pumped with his lyrical quips about partying, touring and the good times. There is something so effortlessly cool about this band and their stage presence reeks of the cockiness of knowing they’re cooler than you (and that isn’t a bad thing).

Mixing up their set with new and old featuring the likes of ‘Popular Demand’, ‘Stay True’, ‘What I Gotta Do’ and finishing with fan favourite ‘Your Mother Should’ve Swallowed You’ the band play their hearts out. It’s just a shame the room isn’t a little bit fuller and the atmosphere a little more electric.